Forecast for July 30, 2018. Congressional Pay Study, plus Congress’ Official Intranet, DemCom, is New and Improved.

TOP LINE

— Appropriations will continue to dominate Congressional attention even as the House goes into recess, with another minibus teed up in the Senate this week and President Trump threatening to shut down the government. The House has scheduled 19 sessions days before the November election; only 11 before the end of the fiscal year. The Senate has 40 session days before the election; only 22 before the end of the fiscal year.

— What do you think of the First Branch Forecast? What do you read and what do you skip? Send me a note at [email protected] I want this to be useful to you. If you like it, tell your friends to sign up. Continue reading “Forecast for July 30, 2018. Congressional Pay Study, plus Congress’ Official Intranet, DemCom, is New and Improved.”

Forecast for July 23, 2018. Appropriations in the Spotlight, Plus Whistleblower Cases Have Doubled Over the Last Five Years.

THE TOP LINE

The Committee on House Administration is the focus of several conversations.

— 30 good government organizations asked House Admin to send the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act to the floor before the recess. The Committee voted to report the measure three months ago but has not actually reported the bill as part of a thus far unsuccessful effort to prompt the Oversight Committee to report another bill on federal depository libraries.

— In addition, a flurry of articles focused on the Library of Congress’s poorly constructed plan to publish CRS reports. Demand Progress, the R Street Institute, and GovTrack say the Library’s plan does not comply with the law that required them to put the reports online and issued a report spelling out the gritty details. (The Library says everything’s fine.)

— The Library is testifying before the Committee on Wednesday on its strategic plan; there also will be a vote on Committee resolution 115-20, which is not yet publicly available. Continue reading “Forecast for July 23, 2018. Appropriations in the Spotlight, Plus Whistleblower Cases Have Doubled Over the Last Five Years.”

Forecast for July 16, 2018. Library of Congress Plan for Publishing CRS Reports Falls Short.

THE TOP LINE

The sixth annual Congressional Legislative data and transparency conference, which took place this past week, was a big success. the hits: the Clerk’s office unveiled Ask Alexa for legislative info (and requested ideas for additional inquiries); GPO revealed an API for almost-all info on govinfo; GPO launched the Legislative Innovation Hub website to support collaboration on transparency and tech; and the Clerk demonstrated a real-time visualization of how an amendment would change a bill and a bill would change the law. My recap is here; and much more detailed notes are here. Continue reading “Forecast for July 16, 2018. Library of Congress Plan for Publishing CRS Reports Falls Short.”

Library Plan to Publish CRS Reports Falls Short of the Law, Is Unduly Expensive

Civil society, students, librarians, and the general public were elated when Congress decided to make the non-confidential non-partisan reports issued by the Congressional Research Service publicly available. These reports are often referred to as the gold standard for information concerning the issues before Congress.

We have obtained the Library of Congress’s implementation plan to make CRS reports available to the public, as required by 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Law. Unfortunately, it does not comport with the law or best practices for creating websites and is unusually expensive.

Today we release the Library’s May 22, 2018, CRS website implementation plan and civil society’s June 6, 2018 memo that responds to that plan. We hope that in doing so we will bring to the surface some of the problems with the CRS reports website’s proposed implementation so they can be fixed in time for the statutory deadline. (The Federation of American Scientists published on Friday a memo to congressional staff about the Library’s plans, but this is different from the implementation plan.) Continue reading “Library Plan to Publish CRS Reports Falls Short of the Law, Is Unduly Expensive”

Congressional Transparency Caucus Briefing: Shining a Light on Foreign Lobbying

The Congressional Transparency Caucus will host a briefing on foreign lobbying on July 25th at 2pm in Rayburn 2456. RSVP here.

Rep. Mike Quigley will be giving opening remarks. Panelists will include:

  • Carrie Levine, Senior Political Reporter, Project on Public Integrity
  • Lydia Dennett, Investigator, Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
  • Daniel Schuman, policy director, Demand Progress Action
  • Tom Susman, Director of Government Affairs, the American Bar Association

Here is the announcement from Rep. Mike Quigley, caucus co-chair, in his “Dear Colleague” letter.

Continue reading “Congressional Transparency Caucus Briefing: Shining a Light on Foreign Lobbying”

Forecast for July 9, 2018. Coming Up This Week: the Sixth Annual Congressional Legislative Data and Transparency Conference.

THE TOP LINE

• The Supreme Court nomination fight will dominate headlines (with a live TV announcement Monday at 9 pm) and deflate other conversations except perhaps the controversy surrounding Rep. Jim Jordan. Appropriators are expected to move another minibus and the intelligence authorization bill is teed up for passage in the House.

• While this may get comparatively little attention, the sixth annual Congressional Legislative Data and Transparency Conference will take place on Thursday in the US Capitol, hosted by the Committee on House Administration. If you haven’t been before, this bipartisan event is the best opportunity to meet the people who make the legislative branch’s technology work and to learn about how the legislative branch is modernizing its legislative processes to address the digital revolution. RSVP here. Continue reading “Forecast for July 9, 2018. Coming Up This Week: the Sixth Annual Congressional Legislative Data and Transparency Conference.”

Forecast for July 2, 2018. Everything You Need to Know About the SCOTUS Nomination Process. Plus, How We Can Protect Journalists.

TOP STORIES

The Supreme Court. — Sen. McConnell says the Senate will consider Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court this fall; Pres. Trump says he’ll nominate within two weeks. Here are background reports on Supreme Court nominations from CRS: Nominations from 1789 to the presentthe appointment processcommittee and floor procedurehistorical overview and data on Senate Judiciary hearingsestablishing majority cloture in the Senatespeed of nominations from 1900-2010nominations not confirmed from 1789 to the present. Continue reading “Forecast for July 2, 2018. Everything You Need to Know About the SCOTUS Nomination Process. Plus, How We Can Protect Journalists.”